Why Brock Purdy's success in 49ers-Dolphins doesn't surprise Jimmie Ward

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Why Purdy rising to challenge as starter doesn't surprise Ward originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SANTA CLARA — Jimmie Ward was not surprised by what he saw from Brock Purdy in the 49ers' Week 13 win because of how the rookie runs the scout team at practice.

Ward has been impressed with how the Iowa State product has taken advantage of each rep while facing the NFL’s top defense. The veteran safety revealed that not all backup quarterbacks operate in the same manner.

Purdy’s diligence helped the team keep its momentum going once Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a foot injury on Sunday.

“I’ve been here nine years and I’ve seen it,” Ward said on Wednesday. “I’ve seen different quarterbacks on the scout team. Sometimes three or four people will run across them -- one pass is a sack, but they will still roll out and make a throw.

“Or somebody will sack them and they still make a throw, and they look at you like, ‘Yeah I threw a good pass on you.’ But you also got sacked four or five times.”

Ward shared that Purdy still makes mistakes during practice and has thrown his share of interceptions, but the safety appreciates that the rookie is taking chances, knowing it will only make him better in the long run.

Past scout team quarterbacks haven’t practiced as if the pass rush is real during practice. Not treating the play like a real game can limit not only a quarterback’s development but the timing and preparation of the defense.

“You won’t be able to hold the ball that long once you get in and it’s time to be a quarterback,” Ward said. “It’s really hurting yourself and it’s hurting the defense too. We can’t react. We can’t see the ball in the air because you’re waiting for the perfect throw instead of trusting the timing preparing yourself.

“That’s the thing that I like about Purdy, is he’s giving us a real realistic rep and he’s giving himself a realistic rep.”  

Purdy has been a preparation junkie since before his high school days, even taking his flag football games seriously. Preston Jones, his football coach at Perry High School in Gilbert, Ariz., believes because of the quarterback’s competitive nature, his routine will never change.

RELATED: Purdy impresses teammates with veteran-like command in huddle

Ward believes Purdy’s diligence paid off on Sunday.

“That’s why people always say don’t take practice for granted,” Ward said “Practice like you play, and he is a prime example. He practices how he plays, and he was using those reps versus the ones on defense and he was taking advantage of it.

“He had to play against the ones, against a playoff contender, and it looked like he did this before which was amazing to me. Very impressive.”

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